Fixing Our Old House

Painting siding
Fix wood rot
Painting siding
Fixing metal roof
Fixing wood damage
Installing gutters

Click to enlarge

Infrared paint heater in use

A. Infrared paint heater in use

Heater tubes

B. Heater tubes


C. Scrapers

Scraping while heater is heating next area

D. Scraping while heater is heating next area

Heater held by track unit

E. Heater held by track unit

Heater held by track unit

F. Removing paint from a removed board.

Removing Paint from Wood Siding

More on Stripping and Painting Old Wood Siding »

Wood siding from 1861 is amazingly hard. This is the case for our siding and is why it has held up. In fact, the hardness of old siding help to preserve many of my village's houses which went unpainted for years.

Since the layers of paint on our house had either alligatored or pealed off from moisture coming through the siding, we needed to remove all of the paint.

After researching stripping techniques, we narrowed our options down to the SpeedHeater (see below) that uses infrared heating elements to soften paint which can then be scraped. This device heats a large area, doesn't get hot enough to vaporize the lead in lead paint or to burn wood, and is easy to use (Photos A & B).

UPDATE: I have also learned about PaintShaver Pro that is much faster and gets good recommendations. These tools are expensive, but if your painting an entire house, the cost of these tools is offset by the time they save. More at American International Tools.

If your siding nails are old and pry out easily, simply remove the siding and then strip the paint and prepare the boards for painting. You get a better job and can use house wrap and fix any insulation issues.

Important tips:

  • Scraper blades must be sharp. The triangle pull scraper sold by the SpeedHeater company is worth the cost (Photo C). You will also need a sharpening stone to keep the blades sharp or buy new blades. We didn't do this at first and wasted a lot of energy in scraping with dull blades. We purchased the DuoSharp® Diamond sharpening stoneleave site. It works better than a regular whetstone and, again, was worth the extra cost.
  • For a drop cloth, use garden weed blocker fabric. This allows rain to flow through and the scrapings to remain where they fall. We first used plastic sheets which puddled after a rain and allowed the scrapings to wash off.
  • Lead paint. In the Silent Paint Remover process, paint is removed as pieces and toxic lead dust is not created. If your paint chips do contain lead paint, most areas allow homeowners doing their own scraping to dispose of them in their regular trash.


When removing lead-based paint, always wear a dust mask, preferable a N100.

Product information

SpeedHeaterleave site

American International Tools Paint Shaverleave site


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